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Arming to battle, and instead of rage Deliberate valor breathed, firm and unmoved
With dread of death to flight or foul retreat;
Nor wanting power to mitigate and swage,1 With solemn touches troubled thoughts, and chase
Anguish and doubt and fear and sorrow and pain
From mortal or immortal minds. Thus they,
Breathing united force with fixed thought, Moved on in silence to soft pipes that charmed 561 Their painful steps o'er the burnt soil; and
Advanced in view they stand, a horrid front
Of dreadful length and dazzling arms, in guise
Of warriors old, with ordered spear and shield, 565 Awaiting what command their mighty Chief
Had to impose. He through the armèd files
Darts his experienced eye, and soon traverse2
The whole battalion views-their order due.
Or whom Biserta sent from Afric shore 585
Waiting revenge. Cruel his eye, but cast
Their visages and stature as of gods; Their number last he sums. And now his (Far other once beheld in bliss), conheart
Above them all the Archangel; but his
Sat on his faded cheek, but under brows Of dauntless courage, and considerate pride
There went a fame in Heaven that he ere
Thrice he assayed, and thrice, in spite of Intended to create, and therein plant
With all his peers: attention held them mute.
Tears, such as Angels weep, burst forth: at last
Words interwove with sighs found out their way:
"O myriads of immortal Spirits! O Powers Matchless, but with the Almighty!-and that strife
Was not inglorious, though the event1 was dire,
At Pandemonium, the high capital
From every band and squared regiment
Pour forth their populous youth about the hive
With hundreds and with thousands, trooping came, 760 Attended. All access was thronged; the gates
And porches wide, but chief the spacious hall
(Though like a covered field, where champions bold
Wont1 ride in armed, and at the Soldan's chair
Defied the best of Panim2 chivalry
Brushed with the hiss of rustling wings.
In spring-time, when the Sun with Taurus The consultation begun, Satan debates whether another battle be to be hazarded for the recovery of Heaven: some advise it, others dissuade. A third proposal is preferred, mentioned before by Satan-to search the truth of that prophecy or tradition in Heaven concerning another world, and another kind of creature, equal, or not much inferior, to themselves, about this time to be created. Their doubt who shall be sent on this difficult search: Satan, their chief, undertakes alone the voyage; is honored and applauded. The council thus ended, the rest betake them several ways and to several employments, as their inclinations lead them, to entertain the time till Satan return. He passes on his journey to Hell-gates, finds them shut, and who sat there to guard them; by whom at length they are opened, and discover to him the great gulf between Hell and Heaven; with what difficulty he passes through, directed by Chaos, the Power of that place, to the sight of this new World which he sought.
In clusters; they among fresh dews and flowers
Fly to and fro, or on the smoothed plank,
So thick the aery
crowd 775 Swarmed and were straitened; till, the signal given,
Behold a wonder! they but now who seemed
In bigness to surpass Earth's giant sons,
Throng numberless, like that pygmean
Sits arbitress, and nearer to the Earth 785 Wheels her pale course; they, on their mirth and dance
Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
1 used to.
At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
3 walk about.
Thus incorporeal Spirits to smallest forms Reduced their shapes immense, and were at large,
Though without number still, amidst the hall
Of that infernal court. But far within,
The great Seraphic Lords and Cherubim
And summons read, the great consult began.
Or where the gorgeous East with richest
More than can be in Heaven, we now re-
Showers on her kings barbaric pearl and To claim our just inheritance of old,
Could have assured us; and by what best
Whether of open war or covert guile,
He ceased; and next him Moloch, scep-
Stood up, the strongest and the fiercest
Satan exalted sat, by merit raised
His proud imaginations thus displayed:"Powers and Dominions, Deities of Heaven!
Your bulwark, and condemns to greatest share
Of endless pain? Where there is, then, no good
For which to strive, no strife can grow up there
O'er Heaven's high towers to force resistless way,
Turning our tortures into horrid arms Against the Torturer; when, to meet the noise
Of his almighty engine, he shall hear
From faction: for none sure will claim in Black fire and horror shot with equal rage
Precedence; none whose portion is so small
His own invented torments. But perhaps
To union, and firm faith, and firm accord,
1 the event.